Snowshoes and skating and sleds, oh my!

Winter activities to keep you active during the snowy months ahead

Skyler Phillips, Contributing Reporter

Many amazing natural phenomena happen during winter, especially in Cleveland. As the temperature drops, the world outside our residence halls transforms. The trees lose their leaves, small ponds freeze and the rain turns to snow, blanketing the ground. While the dead trees at first seem grotesque and pathetic, a nice inch or two of snow quickly transforms this sadly scene into a winter wonderland, in which snowmen and igloos soon take up residence (thanks to the efforts of both small children and college students).

However, many students see the lowering temperatures on their weather apps as an unfortunate turn of events, and retreat into the heated buildings. Oh, the tragedy! These students are missing out on all the wonderful winter activities taking place around them.

For example, tobogganing. Among the winter joys, sledding is a most revered form. Tobogganing takes sledding to the next level by adding a pinch of adrenaline to this peaceful hillside wonder. And guess what! If one felt the desire to take their need for speed to the icy realm of sledding, one can visit the Mill Stream Run Reservation, and sled down one of two 1,000 foot toboggan chutes for three dollars!

This also grants them access to an indoor clubhouse that comes with a snack bar and television. Instead of drinking hot chocolate in your cramped dorm room (freshmen and sophomores), you could drink hot chocolate in a swanky clubhouse! For less than ten dollars, you could spend the whole day there, stuffing your face with snacks, watching TV and racing your colleagues on wooden sleds. And you can do this whether or not there is snow on the ground, as the chutes are kept in refrigerated conditions, and are open until March.

Let’s say you find the idea of those metal blades on the bottom of the toboggans attractive, yet you can’t bring yourself to experience 1,000 feet of speeding ice. You’re in luck! There’s one more activity that involves sleek metal blades—skating. Fortunately, there is a skating rink right on Wade Oval, the only free outdoor rink in Cleveland (but if you don’t have your own skates, it costs three dollars to rent). This fantastic opportunity is open to you only on weekends, though. But fear not! There are other winter escapades.

If you’d prefer something slower and without stainless steel, than perhaps you’d enjoy snowshoe hiking. Luckily, we have the Penitentiary Glen Reservation snowshoe trails. Snowshoes can be rented for an hour or the whole day and there are 8.5 miles of ungroomed forest trails to explore. For beginners, there is the Peppermint Trail, a quarter mile loop trail that rewards all who finish with a peppermint stick. Delicious! The trails are open until March.

Perhaps you just finished an internship this summer, have a little extra cash in your pocket that you need to get rid of or you’re just from an overly affluent family. Either way, for the members of our university with a little more money to spend, there are two ski resorts nearby. The Alpine Ski Resort is just 10 miles outside of Cleveland, and offers downhill skiing all winter long. As long as it’s below 28 degrees, snow is manufactured on the slopes.

There is also the Xtreme park for the more adventurous skiers and boarders who are looking to find the ‘gnar. It has Ohio’s largest halfpipe, a rail trail and a separate lift for snowboarders. If you’re not into the Alpine Ski Resort, there are also Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts. Not only does it share a name with the favored river from Lord of the Rings, it also has snow tubing. If you’re not coordinated enough to ski or board, hop on that tube and blast down the slopes.

If you’re looking for a warmer option, but the thought of a treadmill workout makes you want to hibernate for the next three months, the Case Cycling Club hosts a regular spinning class in the Veale group exercise room. There are two to three classes per week available for a cost of $30 for unlimited sessions guided by USA Cycling certified coach Ryan Pierce. Look to get the best bang for your buck by attending all the classes starting later this month and lasting until it’s warm enough to pedal your way to the great outdoors. More information on the schedule will be available on the Cycling Club’s Facebook page.

As you can see, there is so much waiting for you outside your dorm that’s not just frigid temperatures. So log off of LoL, quit telling yourself “One more block” or close that textbook; put on a heavy jacket and get to exploring! However, if you still don’t want to go into the icy fringes of civilization, but you want to do something sporty, go watch a Cleveland Cavaliers game; enjoy a nice hotdog in a warm stadium. Winter is here, and it’s not as bad as the Starks predicted—instead of snow zombies, there is fun out there.